In This Review

UN Peacekeeping in Africa: From the Suez Crisis to the Sudan Conflicts
UN Peacekeeping in Africa: From the Suez Crisis to the Sudan Conflicts
By Adekeye Adebajo
Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011, 240 pp

Roughly 40 percent of all armed United Nations peacekeeping operations have occurred in Africa, and the biggest and most expensive to date is the current UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which involves some 20,000 soldiers. Adebajo argues that such operations can succeed only under certain conditions. First, the backing of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is crucial, as peacekeeping missions are much less likely to secure budgetary resources and diplomatic support without it. Second, the peacekeepers must rely on the cooperation of the local belligerent parties in order to neutralize potential spoilers. Finally, neighboring countries and regional powers, such as Nigeria and South Africa in the case of Congo, can increase the chances of success by providing diplomatic and military support to peacekeeping efforts. Of course, all three of these exacting conditions rarely exist in combination, and most UN operations in the region cannot be considered successful. Adebajo pleads for more support from Western powers for multilateral peacekeeping operations and advocates a larger peacekeeping role for regional organizations such as the African Union.